Fender Benders: What to Do if You Hit a Parked Car

When most people picture a collision, they see two drivers crashing their vehicles into each other. Sometimes there’s smoke and fireworks, other collisions are simple fender benders. You may know how to survive a car crash where another driver is at fault. But what about crashes in which only one driver is involved? Figuring out what to do if you hit a parked car seems simple enough. But when you’re in the moment, shocked and taken aback by what you’ve just done, dealing with the aftermath of hitting a parked vehicle can be challenging. Read on to learn what to if you hit a parked car and what not to do in these situations.

#1 Stay Put

Even if your first instinct is to flee, you should never, ever leave the scene of an accident. Insurance.com states almost 70 percent of hit-and-run collisions are parking lot accidents. But you should never leave. Chances are that someone saw you or there is video footage of the crash.

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Even if you think the damage is ‘minor’ or almost “unnoticeable” in a simple fender bender, leaving without taking care of the situation is both illegal and irresponsible. It is much better (and less expensive) to take care of the collision repairs upfront rather than face fines, a license suspension, or criminal charges for damaging someone’s property and leaving. Don’t take the chance of getting points on your license or seeing a huge jump in insurance fees.

#2 Locate the Owner

You should make a reasonable effort to find the owner.  Even though it’s just a fender bender, although you aren’t expected to sit in the mall parking lot for several hours waiting for someone to come out, you should try to figure out who the vehicle belongs to. Go inside the store. Knock on the front door of the home. Have the mall page the owner of the white Civic. If all else fails, leave a note. Specifics to include in your note:

  • Name
  • Phone number
  • Address
  • Insurance information
  • Explanation of the incident

Keep the note brief and to the point and remember that what you say could be used when sorting out matters. Leave the note in an area that it can easily be seen (underneath the tire doesn’t count.)

#3 Document the Incident

By taking responsibility for the fender bender and figuring out what to do when hitting a parked car, you are taking the moral high road. But keep in mind that some people use situations like this as a financial come-up. Ask witnesses to sign a statement and get their contact info. Take pictures of both vehicles, and document exactly what damage you did and didn’t do. This will be helpful for step four—calling your insurance company.

#4 Call the Insurance Company

This step is probably the most painful one of all, but it doesn’t have to ruin your day. By contacting your insurance company early on, you can get the repair process moving and get back to life as usual. Calling Orlando Auto Body (480-428-2783) to handle the collision repairs for you can make the process even easier, especially when a lot of red tape is involved.